Why do people always say home-cooked is best? Well, for one thing it is getting more difficult to get a descent home-cooked meal nowadays. When you mention home-cooked, most of us will reminisce about the good old days when mum used to go to the market in the mornings to prepare the day's dishes and everyone would have dinner together. Nowadays it is not uncommon to hear of families who eat out by themselves everyday and for them, a good home-cooked meal has become a luxury.
Simon Road Oyster Omelette: Back at the same spot!
Today we pay tribute to the late Mr Lim Seng Hong who passed away during Chinese New Year this year. I first met him in 2009 at the corner coffeeshop along Simon Road and was at once mesmerized by his frying technique. His pan is tilted so that the oil drains to one side while the eggs crisp up on the elevated side. Once the starch is crispy, the oysters are added and the pan bursts into tongues of fire that lick the luscious bivalves with its smokey aroma!
I still remember the bad old days in the 70's when there was only one type of bread. Those were the days before Gardenia introduced sliced white bread which was "so good you can eat it on its own". In those days, when mum told me to go buy bread, it meant running down to the kek ai (grocery store) to pick up a loaf of traditional kaya toast bread which the lady would slice on the spot.
Once upon a time, there was a man who ran a very successful restaurant serving traditional Cantonese style food. This man, Mr Chai Kok Hoong, had two sons and he brought them up in the kitchen. He taught one son how to use the wok and the other how to steam the food. Each son was to specialise in his own area of the kitchen and wasn't allowed to encroach on the other's territory.
You really can’t keep a good cook out of the kitchen for too long! When I last wrote about Charlie’s Peranakan in 2009, he was already planning to retire citing that rentals was getting too high and he was getting tired. He went on to close Charlie’s Peranakan a few months after my story was published and disappeared from the Singapore food scene for a while.
The food at Hana-hana is very good value. I am not saying you will get top class Japanese food, but for a Japanese omakase meal, this is as cheap and good as it gets and you should leave the place feeling that you will want to go back again.
Helmed by local born, Chef Martin Foo, the restaurant menu is a culmination of his many years of experience at Lei Gardens and Tung Lok group and his penchant for creativity and esoteric ingredients. What's more, Chef Martin keeps a spreadsheet on his customer's preferences so that he remembers what type of fish you like and how it is prepared!
I must have walked past Lee Do Restaurant countless of times whenever I visit the Automobile Megamart, but it had never occurred to me that this austere looking eatery is one of the last guardians of Fuzhou cuisine in Singapore! I was equally intrigued to learn that they were the ones responsible for making cold crabs the popular dish that it is today!
I remember my first encounter with the BBQ Stingray. It was in a little coffee-shop in Teban Gardens in 1987. Before that, I don’t think I have ever eaten stingray. In fact, I don’t think I have ever eaten stingray in any other form since. Stingray, it seems has been created only for this one particular dish, just like no one really eats kohada in any other way other than as a sushi topping.
I first met Kenjiro "Hatch" Hashida back in 2013 when he had just opened Hashida Sushi at level two of the Mandarin Gallery. I was at once smitten by his vintage anago tsume (sauce) which has an unbroken lineage of over 135 years!
The Original Katong Laksa: It really is the Original!
We are living in the days of fake news, fake food, fake brands and fake accolades. I don't know about you, but it really irks me when new restaurants pop up claiming to trace their lineage back to the 60s or to be the original one from Tiong Bahru or Toa Payoh or Queenstown. But if you try to dig a little deeper, you hit bottom pretty soon, because the claims turn out to be as shallow as the soup in a fine dining establishment.